Nate Waite joins NWRPD this year as an Innovations and Professional Learning Facilitator. Nate has been an educator in Churchill County for 22 years as a High School teacher and coach, and more recently as a technology integration specialist and Google Certified Trainer.
His current work expands his interest in technology to the areas of innovations in education including personalized learning, blended learning, and alternative educational pathways with a focus on student agency. Nate loves to work with innovative ways to learn and teach.
His experience in these areas has offered him the opportunities to work with multiple districts as they implement technology effectively. He enjoys work developing competency-based environments, working on strategic plans and profiles of a learner. His experiences have expanded his own learning while organizing and supporting a blended school within a school at Churchill County Middle School.
Karen Staffen is excited to be the current K-12 Storey County School District RPDP Coordinator. She has been with the Storey County School District for 18 years, and has taught 4th grade there for all but 3 years, during which she was the K-5 Literacy/Math Specialist, Computer teacher and part-time RPDP NELIP trainer. Karen has been a member of the NWRPDP Governing Board, as Master Teacher, for the past 10 years. She holds a M.Ed in Literacy Studies, and was UNR's College of Education Senior Scholar, in 2000.
Some of the state-wide committees, cadres, projects, and trainings Karen has completed through the years are: The Nevada Mathematics Project Years - 1 to 3, Project FOCCUS, Developing to the Core Mathematics Training, NSMLC 3 Year Cadre - SCSD Representative for Mathematics, SAP CCSS Advocate, State of NV Educator for Smarter Balanced Digital Library, Achieve NV State EQUIP NGSS Lessons Quality Team Member, NV State Mathematics Standards Revision Team Member, NV State Criterion Reference Test Committee Work.
In addition to committees and workshops, Karen has facilitated district-wide in-service courses for mathematics, and presented at various regional conferences. She was awarded the Storey County Effort and Excellence Award in 2006, and UNR's Top K-12 Educator from Storey County in 2009.
Jaime Whisler just joined the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program as a K-12 Facilitator in 2019. She has a Master’s Degree in ELL and Elementary Education. In addition, she became Nationally Board Certified as an Early Childhood Generalist in 2008 and Renewed her Boards Certificate in 2018. Jaime was a classroom teacher in Clark County and Washoe County for the past 21 years and taught 1st, 2nd, 1st/2nd Combo Class and 3rd grade. She was also a Learning Strategist for Nevada K.I.D.S. Read for two years and supported teachers with Literacy Support. Furthermore, she was a graduate of the first Teacher’s Leading Change Cohort and was also accepted into the Teacher Leadership Pool. She is the Northern Nevada National Boards Facilitator and supports candidates who are going through the process. She also helps facilitate the Teacher’s Leading Change Cohort groups and supports Teacher Leaders across Northern Nevada. Jaime is also really passionate about Parent Engagement and Co-Facilitates a Family Literacy Club Cohort for WCSD teachers.
Catherine has worked in Washoe County School District since 2007. After spending eight years in the elementary grades she spent the next three years as the Field Based Faculty in Elementary Education at the University of Nevada, Reno where she prepared preservice teachers to implement science in their future classrooms. She received her Masters Degree and Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno both in STEM education. Her areas of interest include preparing educators to implement research-based practices in science at the preK-12 level, as well as curriculum design and program evaluation across the K-12 system. Her research includes determining the effectiveness of different curricula and strategies used to teach science to students across the k-12 spectrum, as well as determining the effectiveness of different professional development strategies at changing teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching and implementing science in their classrooms. Catherine has presented at multiple practitioner and research conferences in science education, both locally and nationally. She can provide support in:
Nevada Academic Content Standards in Sciences
Implementation of and development of learning cycles to promote scientific understanding
Inquiry structures to promote active learning in science
Various science program implementation
Integration of science with other disciplines
Data collection, statistical analyses, and program evaluation
Kylie Maddy joined NWRPDP as a 7-12 Content/Disciplinary Literacy Learning Facilitator after ten years in the classroom as a high school social studies teacher. In 2019 she was named High School Teacher of the year by NNCSS. As a recipient of the James Madison Fellowship she completed her MAT in History focusing on 19th century American cultural history and Constitutional history. Kylie has served on the board of the Northern Nevada Council for the Social Studies for the past three years and is a member of the Social Studies Vanguard. She has presented on a variety of topics and strategies at the local NNCSS conference and at the national social studies conferences for the past 5 years.
Sara Cunningham was recently hired as the Director for the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program after spending 18 years with the Washoe County School District. She was a classroom teacher in grades 3rd-6th, a site Data & Instructional Coach, assistant principal, and principal. Sara served all eighteen years in Title I schools, working collaboratively towards school improvement. After completing an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, Sara returned to school earning a Masters of Education in Literacy Studies, and a few years later an Educational Specialist in Administration. In addition to work at the site level, Sara has participated in work at the district and state level. She has been involved with birth-3rd grade initiatives, Striving Readers grant implementation, Read x3, district and site improvement planning. Sara’s experience at the site level, specifically in schools in needs of improvement, has made her a strong advocate for all students and for building the capacity of all teachers. She strives to support schools to become the best learning environment for ALL children. She is strongly committed to serving schools and helping educators reach their greatest potential.
Robert Maw has been an educator in Alaska, Washington, and Nevada for 19 years. Robert has a Bachelor’s degree in Planning and Resource Management from Brigham Young University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Anchorage Alaska. Robert has spent 15 years in grades 6-8 teaching Math, Science, Explorations, and Social Studies.
In 2011, Robert was selected to be one of the few teachers in Nevada to participate in the Pathways Project. Through the Pathways Project, Robert was a pioneer in implementing technology in the classroom to enhance math curriculum and increase student engagement. Robert was a key presenter at UNR and numerous districts in Nevada for the implementation of technology to create a 21st Century classroom.
Robert spent four years working for the Carson City School District as a Teacher on Special Assignment focusing on training staff on the implementation of technology in the classroom. During this time, Robert became a Google Certified Trainer and a Level 1 and 2 Google Certified Teacher. In 2018, Robert participated in the writing of the first Computer Science standards for the State of Nevada and now works for NWRPDP as the Secondary Computer Science Facilitator.
Dr. Diana Walker was a classroom teacher for many years teaching 4th -12th grade English and ELL for 10 years in public and private schools in the U.S., Mongolia, and Venezuela. Prior to accepting a position as a K-6 Literacy Specialist with NWRPDP she was an Implementation Specialist, ELL Program Coordinator, and Migrant Educator in Washoe County School District. Diana graduated from UNR with an English degree. She also has a Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degree with a focus on English Learners from Wichita State University. She has her PhD in Educational Leadership and her research focus was on Long Term English Language Learners.
Her training and expertise include the following research-based areas:
Dr. Nicolette Smith was a Social Studies teacher for twelve years, teaching U.S. History and Government in WCSD prior to accepting a position as a K-12 Literacy specialist with NWRPDP. Dedicated to facilitating professional development in both pedagogy and content in social studies, Nicolette has been a part of the Teaching American History grant and serves on the board of the Northern Nevada Council for Social Studies. Nicolette has her National Board Certification and facilitates a cohort for WCSD teachers who are working to attain their National Boards as well. She works as a part of the Student Learning Facilitators (SLF) team to support teacher learning and growth in the development of Understanding By Design units. Nicolette is currently working on her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with the emphasis in K-12 education.
Lou Loftin has worked for Washoe County School District for 27 years. In his 27 year tenure with the district, he has taught grades 2-6, worked three years as Outdoor Education Coordinator K-12, was Dean of an elementary school one year, worked three years as Elementary Field Based Instructor at UNR, and is currently the Pre-K-12 Science Learning Facilitator for Northwest Regional Professional Development Program serving Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey, and Washoe Counties. In this position Lou trains on NVACS For English Language Arts & Literacy in Science, NVACS For Mathematics integrated in Science, STEM education, Science Practices and the NVACSS based off of NGSS. Lou taught several of the K-8 Science Methods evening classes at UNR for the College of Education and has previously taught the Physical Geography classes at UNR during summer sessions. Lou received his first degree from UNR: Bachelors of Science in Physical Geography 1986, then received his teaching certification from UNR in 1991, and his Master’s in Education in 2000 from UNR. Lou has presented at many local, state, and national Science and Math conventions, conferences, and workshops. Lou is available to support schools with: